Bee Pitstop

Hi,

I just joined this forum. I live in the North East and my garden (mainly grass) is quite substancial in size. 

Last year I have found a few struggeling bees on my path and helped them with a little sugar/water solution fed on a small teaspoon on their way. I don't have many flowering plants. However, I have noticed that bees seem to love some Allu...(I can't think of the name right now. They're purple and look a bit like ice cream balls. I'm sure they're called Alurium or something like that. Apparently they're related to onions). I only have about five of these inside a plant pot.

To cut a long story short. The struggeling bees I found last year made me realise that I haven't really seen many bees and butterflies in recent years and I'd like to help these creatures. I don't know much about plants and flowers, as I was brought up in cities and the closest I ever came to gardening was pottering about on a balcony. So you can imagine that this is all a bit daunting to me and being terrified of slugs doesn't really help lol image.

I let you know what (apart from grass the size of half a tennis court) is in my garden at the moment:

In the front there is a corkscrew hazel, a shrub that I believe could be a butterfly bush, but I haven't seen any butterflies on it so far. The latter I planted from a pot into the soil last summer. Then there is a fuchsia and since today a forsythia. 

Also, I'd like to know if Helleboris Niger would help either very late or early bees, as these flower from December until May. I have one of them in a planter. 

In the back there is mainly brambles, which I keep in check, so they don't take over like it used to be the case when I moved in here. 

Help would be appreciated and thanks already for replies. 

Ands image 

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  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 13,994

    The round flowers you mention are alliums. Bees love lavender and perennial salvias. I have a blue salvia that is covered in bees in the summer. They also like daisy shaped flowers with open middles.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • LesleyKLesleyK Posts: 4,029

    A lot of hardy annuals are bee friendly.  Things like cornflowers which can be sown from seed quite cheaply.  Single blooms are the best for attracting insects as the pollen is readily available.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,071

    Hi Andrea. Helleborus niger is not an easy plant. The bees are enjoying single snowdrops and pulmonaria rubra in my garden at the moment.  tbh they were enjoying them yesterday in the sunshine. Today was a washout

  • I have many niger but I don't see them attracting the bees. Not sure what to suggest for this time of year. I have a mahonia shrub which attracts bees but it is approx 3 ft and can grow to 6+ if left unpruned.

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  • Thank you \ll o much, thank @ LesleyL for mentioning cornflowers. I love cornflowers. I can already tell that my Bee Pitstop is something that won't go away any time soon. And thanks @Busy_Lizzie..yes, they are alliums. I need more of these. 

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 14,924

    Borage and Cerinthe, both extremely easy to grow from seeds. Maybe Google 'Bee friendly flowers' and see what you like, then you can strip the grass off, dig over a patch, put a handful of chicken pellets, Growmore or similar fertalizer in and plant out your little plants.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • The RHS website has lots of advice about what to plant. 

    https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/wildlife-garden

  • Most gardencentres now have labels on things saying 'Bee friendly' or 'Great for pollinators' or somilar, so watch out for these if you buy anything. Food is hardest for bees to find early and late in the year, so make an especial effort to find plants that flower then.

    Bees are supposed to like blue flowers best but flowers of other colours often have invisble (to us) honey guide patterns on them to help bees find their nectar. Red is probably least popular.

    Single flowers are better than double ones for things like roses, dahlias. poppies.

    Lots of little flowers are often better than one big one, so marjoram, valerian, forget-me-nots and also surprisingly,  daisies and cow parsley type flowers and scabious, which we tend to think of as one flower, but which are actually made up of dozens of tiny ones.

    Weeds can be just as good as garden plants - your brambles, thistles, dandelions, daisies and clover in the grass. But some of them might upset the neighbours!

  • ElusiveElusive Posts: 992

    There was a honeybee on my primroses this morning image

    I thought it was a little cold but it must have been hungry.

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